Twice a week you will find me at my local Karate America. I’ll be sitting there for an hour and a half entertaining first my oldest and then my youngest as they take turns with their taekwondo classes. I’ll be the one with the iPhone with new apps, a coloring book, lacing cards, and finger puppets. I’ll be standing and saying the oath. I’ll be holding targets and dressing my kids in “sparring gear.” Then, about every six weeks I’ll be at “graduation” watching my little ones get belts in every color of the rainbow. Do you think Chuck Norris was ever a purple belt?
Let me explain what having two boys in taekwondo is like. When you sign your little karate kid up for class, he’ll get a giant bag of gear that he can’t carry. A bag so big that your child could probably fit inside and that is heavy enough you will believe he actually is. Then, you get to wrestle this giant bag and your bag of toys and your kids through the parking lot that, in South Florida where I live is as hot as the face of the sun all year.
My youngest insisted that he start karate like his big brother. After about a year and a half of just watching, he refused to sit any longer. So, I signed him up. He did great at first and it was ADORABLE. I mean a two year old in full karate gear? Hysterical! Then, he was done. Now, every class is a struggle and a thirty minute exercise in rationalizing with a toddler. He pouts when they correct his form. He gets mad if he can’t kick the target first. He throws a tantrum if the slightest thing doesn’t go his way. I refuse to take him out of karate because I don’t want him to learn to be a quitter. Not to mention, he could use the discipline.
My oldest has a blast during class. Regardless, every time I say it is time for karate he whines and tells me he doesn’t want to go. He has fun when he gets there, though. I’ll be so glad when he gets his black belt. That means he can be an instructor (or not) and it is something he will always have. It is a big accomplishment.
I honestly think that this activity is more than just good exercise. It is teaching them valuable lessons about hard work, long and short term goals, respect, and self-control. So, as hard as it is for me to get them there, we’re going to keep going and I’m just going to use this paragraph as a sort-of mantra when they give me a hard time.
My question is when do I get a belt? I know the answer. Just like everything else about being a mom, my reward is my children’s success. That’s enough for me. Still, I think I might look good in a purple belt, Sir!